Tuesday 7 October 2014

The Bridge (10k and) Fun Run 2014

‘The Bridge’ area of Dartford is a bit of a no man’s land between central Dartford and the River Thames/Dartford crossing. It was originally marsh land (in Mother Nature’s eyes probably still is) and with the exception of a couple of footbridges is virtually cut off from the main part of Dartford by a dual carriageway (University Way / Bob Dunn Way).

the bridge

Since 1939 it has been home to Littlebrook power station – an evolving series of four oil and coal fired power stations (A, B, C and D). At the beginning of the 1980s Littlebrook D with its 215 metre (705 ft.) tall chimney, which is the fourth tallest in the UK, replaced the earlier stations and is now one of the most prominent features of Dartford’s skyline and can be seen for miles in every direction.

littlebrook d

The area is currently being developed further with a mix of industrial warehouses, housing, a sculpture trail, and a school. It is very quiet apart from the odd car, lorry or ‘fastrack’ bus service and completely flat – which does of course make it good for a nice fast race (providing it’s not too windy). The Bridge Events Dartford run a number of events in the area throughout the year and one of them is a race that I ran in 2013 - The Bridge 10k.

sporting a slgr wristband

Moving on to 2014 and the 10k event clashed with the Tonbridge Half-Marathon, which I had chosen to enter instead. However, I had hurt my foot and decided to pull out of the half marathon and rest. So on the morning of the event I was now at a loose end and my daughter really wanted to ‘run with the other children’ – my first thought was to go to a junior parkrun, but as the car had a flat battery (again) we decided to take a walk down to The Bridge instead, where in addition to the 10k there was a 2km kids’ fun run.

horsing around / warming up

We arrived on foot just after the 10k had started and found a decent spot to take some photos of our So Let’s Go Running (SLGR) team mates. Both the main race and the fun run use the relatively wide shared-use pedestrian/cycling paths – this year the 10k used a different route to the 2013 event. As the 10k race progressed we made our way over to the race HQ where we continued to take photos before putting an entry (£3) in for the kids’ fun run, which was scheduled to start at 11.30am.

she means business

The course for the fun run took the children (and some adults) on a 2km clockwise loop around one of the lakes and through some of the housing. The course was fully marshalled and it was all on pavements, but with my daughter being only four years old I didn't really want her to be out of my sight and all alone so far away. As the run drew near, I started to think that I should accompany her around, but my foot was hurting and jogging would have been difficult…

moments before they were released

… fortunately a couple of my SLGR team mates volunteered their services and very kindly ran/walked with her while I stayed at race HQ. I am very grateful to Steph and Rachel for doing this, especially as they had both just finished running the full 10k race not long before and could probably have done with a little more time to recover!

getting into the swing of things

So at 11.30am they went off on the 2 kilometre loop, I took some photos at the start, and before I knew it they were out of sight and I did my anxious parent routine while waiting for them to reappear. Approximately 16 minutes later I caught a glimpse of the three of them heading towards the finish line. As they reached the finish funnel, my daughter’s fantastic escorts peeled off so that she could enter the finish funnel and cross the line on her own.

matilda flanked by her #teamslgr escorts

I could see her looking for me as she got closer to the finish line and when she spotted me her face lit up and my heart melted. She looked so, so proud of herself and I, equally, was proud to watch her approaching and then crossing the line in a finishing time of 18-and-a-bit minutes (by my watch – the fun run wasn't officially timed). She was presented with her finisher’s medal and after a quick hug, she made a bee-line for the water and snacks that were available for all of the participants.

wohoooooo go matilda!

Afterwards she was reunited with the rest of #TeamSLGR for a quick photo-shoot. Then she ran off and played with some of the other children for a while. Our little trip down to The Bridge was almost at an end, but not before handing the DSLR to Matilda so she could take some more photos, which are all in an album on flickr. We had a great morning and we took a mixture of not-so-good and fairly decent photos of the rest of the SLGR runners during and after the 10k.


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